Friday, February 12, 2016

[Herpetology • 2016] Cyrtodactylus rex & C. equestris • The Knight and the King: Two New Species of Giant Bent-toed Gecko (Cyrtodactylus, Gekkonidae, Squamata) from northern New Guinea, with Comments on Endemism in the North Papuan Mountains

Cyrtodactylus rex sp. n. in life. A adult female holotype SAMA R67636 from the Sepik River Basin, East Sepik Province B juvenile paratype SAMA R67637 from Sepik River Basin, Sandaun Province. 
Cyrtodactylus equestris sp. n. in life. Paratype MZB lace 5435
from near Marina Valen Village, Papua Province, Indonesia. 
Genotyped Cyrtodactylus novaeguineae from southern slopes of the Central Cordillera of New Guinea. 
Photographs: S. Richards.  DOI:  10.3897/zookeys.562.6052  

The diverse biota of New Guinea includes many nominally widespread species that actually comprise multiple deeply divergent lineages with more localised histories of evolution. Here we investigate the systematics of the very large geckos of the Cyrtodactylus novaeguineae complex using molecular and morphological data. These data reveal two widespread and divergent lineages that can be distinguished from each other, and from type material of Cyrtodactylus novaeguineae, by aspects of size, build, coloration and male scalation. On the basis of these differences we describe two new species. Both have wide distributions that overlap extensively in the foothill forests of the North Papuan Mountains, however one is seemingly restricted to hill and lower montane forests on the ranges themselves, while the other is more widespread throughout the surrounding lowlands. The taxon endemic to the North Papuan Mountains is related to an apparently lowland form currently known only from Waigeo and Batanta Island far to the west – hinting at a history on island arcs that accreted to form the North Papuan Mountains.

Keywords: Arc accretion, Endemism, Indonesia, lizard, orogeny, Papua New Guinea, Papua Province, Sepik Basin

Paul Oliver, Stephen Richards, Mumpuni Mumpuni and Herbert Rösler. 2016. The Knight and the King: Two New Species of Giant Bent-toed Gecko (Cyrtodactylus, Gekkonidae, Squamata) from northern New Guinea, with Comments on Endemism in the North Papuan Mountains. ZooKeys. 562: 105-130. DOI:  10.3897/zookeys.562.6052

The scaled king and his knight: Two new giant bent-toed gecko species from New Guinea via @physorg_com

[Herpetology • 2016] Cyrtodactylus bansocensis • A New Species of Karst-dwelling Bent-toed Gecko (Squamata: Gekkonidae: Cyrtodactylus) from Khammouane Province, central Laos

Cyrtodactylus bansocensis 
 Luu, Nguyen, Le, Bonkowski & Ziegler, 2016


We describe a new species of the genus Cyrtodactylus from Khammouane Province, central Laos based on morphological features and molecular data. Morphologically, Cyrtodactylus bansocensis sp. nov. is differentiated from other congeners by a unique combination of the following characters: medium size, SVL reaching 74.0 mm; dorsal pattern consisting of four light transverse bands between limb insertions; supranasals in contact with each other; dorsal tubercles at midbody in 14–15 irregular rows; lateral folds present without interspersed tubercles; ventral scales between ventrolateral folds 34–35; precloacal and femoral pores in males 34, separated by four poreless scales in the male holotype and in a continuous row in the male paratype; enlarged femoral and precloacal scales present; postcloacal tubercles 5–7 on each side; dorsal tubercles present at tail base; and subcaudal scales transversely enlarged. Molecular analyses revealed the new species to be closely related to Cyrtodactylus rufford, which is also found in Khammouane Province.

Keywords: Reptilia, Cyrtodactylus bansocensis sp. nov., limestone karst, morphology, phylogeny, taxonomy

 Vinh Quang Luu, Truong Nguyen, Minh Duc Le, Michael Bonkowski and Thomas Ziegler. 2016. A New Species of Karst-dwelling Bent-toed Gecko (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from Khammouane Province, central Laos.  ZOOTAXA. 4079(1):87-102.   DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4079.1.6

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

[Ichthyology • 2016] “Barbusvalidus • A New Small Barb (Cyprininae: Smiliogastrini) from the N’sele and Mayi Ndombe Rivers in the Lower Reaches of the Middle Congo Basin (Democratic Republic of Congo, Central Africa)

Barbus” validus
Stiassny, Liyandja & Iyaba, 2016

A new species of smiliogastrin cyprinid is described from tributaries of the middle Congo River in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Restriction of the genus name, Barbus, to certain large-bodied, (polyploid) barbins, and current uncertainty regarding phylogenetic relationships among the numerous small-bodied African (diploid) barbs, renders generic assignment for the new species problematical. Pending the results of ongoing systematic analyses, and to reduce short-term nomenclatural instability, the new species is described here as a species of “Barbus.”3 “Barbus” validus, new species, is readily distinguished from all other small-bodied African barbs by the combined possession of scales in midlateral series that are not enlarged relative to those along the impinging rows above and below; well-developed barbels, with the maxillary pair extending beyond the level of mideye, and the mandibular pair reaching the level of midopercle; the presence of numerous conical tubercles over the snout, cheek, and dorsum of head; a small circular occipital fontanel located medially at the parietal suture; well-developed gill rakers, with 8 or 9 on the hypo- and ceratobranchial elements of the first arch; a last unbranched dorsal-fin ray that is weakly ossified and lacking serrations along the posterior border; and a dorsal fin that is creamy white proximally and with the distal half to two thirds darkly pigmented.

 Keywords: Congo River basin, cyprinine biodiversity, COI barcodes, taxonomy

Melanie L.J. Stiassny, Tobit L.D. Liyandja, and Raoul J C Monsembula Iyaba. 2016. A New Small Barb (Cyprininae: Smiliogastrini) from the N’sele and Mayi Ndombe Rivers in the Lower Reaches of the Middle Congo Basin (Democratic Republic of Congo, Central Africa).
American Museum Novitates. 3848: 1-15. DOI: 10.1206/3848.1

[Ichthyology • 2016] Cryptomyrus: A New Genus of Mormyridae (Teleostei, Osteoglossomorpha) with Two New Species from Gabon, West-Central Africa

Cryptomyrus ogoouensis C. ona
Sullivan, Lavoue & Hopkins, 2016

We use mitochondrial and nuclear sequence data to show that three weakly electric mormyrid fish specimens collected at three widely separated localities in Gabon, Africa over a 13-year period represent an unrecognized lineage within the subfamily Mormyrinae and determine its phylogenetic position with respect to other taxa. We describe these three specimens as a new genus containing two new species. Cryptomyrus, new genus, is readily distinguished from all other mormyrid genera by a combination of features of squamation, morphometrics, and dental attributes. Cryptomyrus ogoouensis, new species, is differentiated from its single congener, Cryptomyrus ona, new species, by the possession of an anal-fin origin located well in advance of the dorsal fin, a narrow caudal peduncle and caudal-fin lobes nearly as long as the peduncle. In C. ona, the anal-fin origin is located only slightly in advance of the dorsal fin, the caudal peduncle is deep and the caudal-fin lobes considerably shorter than the peduncle. Continued discovery of new taxa within the “Lower Guinea Clade” of Mormyridae highlights the incompleteness of our knowledge of fish diversity in West-Central Africa. We present a revised key to the mormyrid genera of Lower Guinea.

Keywords: Weakly electric fish, Mormyrinae, integrative taxonomy, phylogeny, DNA, electric organ discharge, EOD, African freshwater fishes, rarity

Figure 1.  Geographic location of collection sites for the three mormyrid specimens treated in this study. Red star = type locality of Cryptomyrus ogoouensis sp. n. at Doumé, Ogooué River; green star = type locality of Cryptomyrus ona sp. n. at the Moukalaba River; green circle = locality of second specimen of C. ona at the Mabounié River.

Figure 2. Photographs of the collection localities of the three mormyrid specimens treated in this study. A Doumé falls on the Ogooué River, Ogooué-Lolo, Gabon, type locality of Cryptomyrus ogoouensis sp. n. during high water in May 2011 B same locality in low water, September 2014 C Nyanga River at confluence with Moukalaba River near collection site of holotype of Cryptomyrus ona sp. n., July 2001 D Collection site of Cryptomyrus ona specimen CUMV 98647 in Mabounié River, Ngounié Province, February 2012.


Cryptomyrus gen. n.

Type species: Cryptomyrus ogoouensis sp. n.

Included species: Cryptomyrus ogoouensis sp. n., Cryptomyrus ona sp. n.

Cryptomyrus gen. n. is distinguished from all other mormyrid genera by combination of the following features. Scales large: 44 or 45 along the midlateral line, with about 42 pierced lateral line scales; mouth subinferior; broad but nonprotrusive chin swelling that does not extend beyond snout; snout expansive and rounded in lateral profile with slight inflection point visible above anterior margin of eye in lateral view; snout somewhat v-shaped in dorsal view; eye large, 19–20% HL; middle four teeth on dentary squarish, broad and spatulate, oriented nearly horizontally, central two lower teeth longest along inner edges and in contact with each other, jutting in advance of neighboring pair and forming a trowel-like shape (Fig. 6); ventral profile of head with marked concavity between gular region and chin, body depth increasing rapidly from there to pelvic-fin origin, body depth at pelvic-fin origin 21–24% SL; interorbital width 32–35% HL; dorsal-fin length 78–88% of anal-fin length; caudal-peduncle depth at end of anal fin greater than 30% of caudal-peduncle length; faint, wide and diffuse band of pigment between anterior portion of dorsal fin and anal-fin bases, darkest from midlateral region dorsally.

Etymology: Gender masculine; from the Greek kryptos meaning secret or hidden referring to the rarity of these fishes in collections and the Greek myros, a kind of fish, a suffix used in the names of many other mormyrid genera.

Figure 5. Maximum likelihood phylogenetic tree calculated in RAxML for 46 mormyrin specimens based on DNA sequences from mitochondrial cytochrome b, 12S, 16S and nuclear rag2 and S7 intron, rooted with Myomyrus macrops. Bootstrap support values at nodes. Some clades collapsed for simplicity. Position of new taxa (magenta) within the “Lower Guinea Clade” (green) and distance from Hippopotamyrus castor, type species of genus Hippopotamyrus (red), highlighted.

Cryptomyrus ogoouensis sp. n.

Figure 7. Holotype of Cryptomyrus ogoouensis CUMV 98155, female, 112 mm SL, Ogooué River at Doumé falls, Ogooué-Lolo Province, Gabon. Left and right views of preserved whole specimen and radiograph shown below photo of specimen immediately post-mortem.
Scale bar = 1 centimeter.  DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.561.7137

Diagnosis: Cryptomyrus ogoouensis sp. n. is readily differentiated from its sole congener, C. ona sp. n., in the possession of an anal-fin origin located well in advance of the dorsal fin (first dorsal ray above anal-fin ray 7 vs. first dorsal ray above anal-fin ray 3), a narrow caudal peduncle (depth 5.1% SL vs. 6.0–6.8% SL), and lobes of caudal fin nearly as long as caudal peduncle (vs. markedly shorter).

Etymology: The specific epithet is a Latinized noun in the genitive case and refers to the Ogooué River of Gabon.

Distribution and ecology: Currently known only from the Ogooué River at Doumé falls. At the collection site, we recorded a water temperature of 26.7 °C, a pH of 6.89, water conductivity of 13.8 μS/cm and dissolved oxygen of 84.7%.

Cryptomyrus ona sp. n.

Diagnosis: Cryptomyrus ona sp. n. is readily differentiated from its sole congener, C. ogoouensis sp. n., in having an anal-fin origin located only just in advance of the dorsal fin (first dorsal ray above anal-fin ray 3 vs. first dorsal-fin ray above anal-fin ray 7), a deep caudal peduncle (6.0–6.8% SL vs. 5.1% SL), and lobes of caudal fin markedly shorter than caudal peduncle (vs. nearly as long as peduncle).

Etymology: The specific epithet is a noun in apposition that honors Marc Ona Essangui, Gabonese environmental and civic activist, founder and executive director of the NGO Brainforest and recipient of the 2009 Goldman Environmental Prize, in appreciation for his efforts to protect Gabon’s equatorial forests and wetlands.

Distribution and ecology: Known from the type locality in the Moukalaba River at its confluence with the Nyanga River. A second specimen referred to this species comes from the Mabounié River, a small right-bank affluent of the lower Ngounié River, below Samba Falls. Both specimens were caught by gill net at night. At the type locality we recorded water temperature of 23.6 °C, pH of 8.0, water conductivity of 116.0 μS/cm and dissolved oxygen of 4.98 mg/l. Water conductivity at the Mabounié River at time of collection of that specimen was 48 μS/cm.

 John P. Sullivan, Sebastien Lavoue and Carl D. Hopkins. 2016. Cryptomyrus: A New Genus of Mormyridae (Teleostei, Osteoglossomorpha) with Two New Species from Gabon, West-Central Africa. ZooKeys. 561: 117-150. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.561.7137

Nous avons démontré avec des marqueurs mitochondriaux et nucléaires que trois spécimens de poissons mormyridés faiblement électriques, collectés à trois localités au Gabon sur une période de 13 ans, forment une lignée inconnue au sein de la sous famille des Mormyrinae dont nous avons déterminé la position phylogénétique. Nous décrivons un nouveau genre et deux nouvelles espèces pour ces trois spécimens. Cryptomyrus, nouveau genre, se distingue des autres genres de mormyridés par une combinaison de caractères de l’écaillure, morphométriques, et dentaires. Cryptomyrus ogoouensis, nouvelle espèce, se distingue de sa seule espèce congénérique par sa nageoire anale qui commence nettement en avant de sa nageoire dorsale, son pédoncule caudal gracile et les lobes de sa nageoire caudale pratiquement aussi longs que son pédoncule caudal. Chez Cryptomyrus ona, nouvelle espèce, la nageoire anale commence légèrement en avant de l’origine de la nageoire dorsale, le pédoncule caudal est large, et les lobes de la nageoire caudale sont plus courts que le pédoncule caudal. La découverte ininterrompue de nouveaux taxa dans le «clade de basse Guinée» des Mormyridae illustre notre connaissance incomplète de la diversité des poissons de l’ouest de l’Afrique centrale. Nous présentons une clé révisée des genres de Mormyridae de basse Guinée.

[Ichthyology • 2013] Eugnathichthys virgatus • A New Ectoparasitic Distichodontid of the Genus Eugnathichthys (Characiformes: Citharinoidei) from the Congo Basin of central Africa, with A Molecular Phylogeny for the Genus

Eugnathichthys virgatus
Stiassny, Denton & Monsembula Iyaba, 2013  


A new species of ectoparasitic distichodontid, Eugnathichthys virgatus, is described from localities in the central and western Congo basin. The new species is a fin-eater even at small sizes and, in common with congeners, is capable of biting off sections of heavily ossified fin-rays of large prey species. Prior to the present study, two species were included in this distinctive distichodontid genus: the type species, Eugnathichthys eetveldii, and a second species, E. macroterolepis, both of which are widely distributed throughout much of the Congo basin. Morphologically, E. virgatus is readily distinguished from its two congeners based on a combination of meristic and morphometric attributes. The new species possesses a unique pigmentation pattern, a reduced number of pectoral-fin rays, and a markedly reduced dentition on the fifth ceratobranchial elements of the pharynx, all of which are derived features considered diagnostic for the new species. With molecular data the species is further diagnosed by four apomorphic, non-synonomous nucleotide transitions in two sampled genes (NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 and glycosyltransferase). Phylogenetic analysis of those mtDNA and ncDNA markers supports a sister-group relationship between E. virgatus and E. eetveldii rather than with E. macroterolepis, the species with which it bears closest phenetic similarity.

Keywords: Eugnathichthys virgatus, new species, ectoparasite, generic intrarelationships

Stiassny, M.L.J., Denton, J.S.S. & Monsembula Iyaba, R.J.C. 2013. A New Ectoparasitic Distichodontid of the Genus Eugnathichthys (Characiformes: Citharinoidei) from the Congo Basin of central Africa, with A Molecular Phylogeny for the Genus. Zootaxa. 3693(4): 479–490. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3693.4.4

[Botany • 2014] Nymphaea siamensis Puripany. | บัวจงกลนี • A New Species of Waterlily native to Thailand

บัวจงกลนี | Nymphaea siamensis  Puripany.  

Morphological and genetic comparison between Nymphaea siamensis and other Nymphaea species were conducted. N. siamensis is a new species of Nymphaea found in Thailand. Lacking carpels and anthers, its indeterminate flowers feature multiple whorls of pink petals. The species could be propagated vegetatively via bulblets and shows closest similarities to Nymphaea ‘Nilubon’, an unclassified landrace found in the northeast of Thailand. N. siamensis and N. ‘Nilubon’ have similar leaf, stem and root morphology. Like N. siamensis, N. ‘Nilubon’ also produces bulblets. However, flowers of N. ‘Nilubon’ have purple petals and are complete with both stamens and pistils. N. siamensis differs from the other Nymphaea species in its lack of locules, which made it difficult to be classified. Nonetheless, its morphological characters appear closer to species in the subgenus Brachyceras than in the subgenus Lotos. As a consequence, the species may be classified under the subgenus Brachyceras of the genus Nymphaea. Cluster and neighbor joining analyses of 34 polymorphic RAPD alleles revealed that N. siamensis was most similar to N. ‘Nilubon’ in our study. In addition, parsimony analysis revealed that it might have a separate origin from the other Nymphaea species in our studies. We propose that N. siamensis be qualified as a new plant species native to Thailand.

Keywords: Nymphaea siamensis, new species, nomenclature, morphology, RAPD

Puripunyavanich, V., La-ongsri, W., Boonsirichai, K. and Chukiatman, P. 2014. Nymphaea siamensis, the New Species of Waterlily in Thailand. Acta Hortic. 1035, 87-98. DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2014.1035.10

บัวจงกลนี (Nymphaea sp.) มีชื่อปรากฏในเอกสารมาตั้ง แต่สมัยสุโขทัย ปัจจุบันยังไม่สามารถจำแนกชนิดได้ อาจจะเป็นชนิดใหม่ และเป็นพืชเฉพาะถิ่นของไทย หรือเป็นบัวพันธุ์ผสมโดยฝีมือคนไทยในช่วงสมัยรัชกาลที่ 5

[Entomology • 2014] Brockphasma spinifemoralis • A New Phasmid Genus and New Species of Neohiraseini (Phasmida: Necrosciinae) from Vietnam

A couple of   Brockphasma spinifemoralis
Ho, Liu, Bresseel & Constant, 2014

Photo by Rob Krijns || DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.3826.1.9

A new genus of stick insects, Brockphasma Ho gen. nov., with the type-species, Brockphasma spinifemoralis Ho, Liu, Bresseel & Constant spec. nov., is described and illustrated from Vietnam. Both sexes, the egg and the first instar nymph are described and figured. Data on the habitat and natural foodplants are provided. Brockphasma Ho gen. nov. is differentiated from other genera in Neohiraseini by spinose occiput, anterior region of mesonotum with a spinose hump and spinose anterodorsal and posterodorsal carinae of femora. A key to the genera of Neohiraseini from Vietnam is given.

Key words: Neohiraseini, Vietnam, new genus, new species

FIGURES 25–28. Brockphasma spinifemoralis gen. et spec. nov., in situ, distribution map and habitat.
25, distribution map. 26, adult pair on fern at night time. 27, adult pair camouflaged on tree fern at day time. 28, habitat of the species at Bach Ma National Park (photographs by J. Constant). 

Ho, George W. C., Xingyue Liu, Joachim Bresseel & Jerome Constant. 2014. Brockphasma spinifemoralis gen. et spec. nov.: A New Phasmid Genus and New Species of Neohiraseini (Phasmida: Necrosciinae) from Vietnam.  Zootaxa. 3826(1):282-90. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.3826.1.9.

Phát hiện chi và loài mới Bọ Que Thừa Thiên Huế

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

[Entomology • 2015] Lobofemora, The New Genus of Stick Insect (Phasmida: Phasmatidae: Clitumnini) from Vietnam, with the Description of Three New Species

Fig. 10. Lobofemora gen. nov. spp., photographs in natura by the authors.
AC. Lobofemora bachmaensis sp. nov., Bach Ma National Park. A–B. ♀, 11 Jul. 2011. C. ♀, 14 Jul. 2011.
DG. L. bidoupensis sp. nov., Bidoup-Nui Ba National Park. D. ♂, 22 Jul. 2014. E–F. ♀, 25 Jul. 2014. G. ♀, 23 Jul. 2014.
J. L. scheirei sp. nov. H–I. Dong Nai Biosphere Reserve, 30 Jun. 2012. H. ♂. I. ♀. J. ♀, Cat Tien National Park, 9 Jul. 2012.

 The new genus Lobofemora gen. nov. is described from Vietnam to accommodate three new species: L. bachmaensis sp. nov. (Bach Ma National Park, central Vietnam), L. bidoupensis sp. nov. (Bidoup-Nui Ba National Park, central Vietnam) and L. scheirei sp. nov., the type species (Cat Tien National Park and Dong Nai Biosphere Reserve, south Vietnam). It is provisionally placed in the tribe Clitumnini Brunner von Wattenwyl, 1893. The genus is the only known Clitumnini which shows tegmina and sometimes alae in the males. Females show conspicuous foliaceous lobes on the median femora. Males and females of all species and the eggs of L. scheirei sp. nov. and L. bidoupensis sp. nov. are described and illustrated. An identification key to the species and a distribution map are provided. The definition of the tribe Clitumnini sensu Hennemann & Conle (2008) is slightly adapted to include the new genus and the tribal placement is discussed. The male of L. scheirei sp. nov. is able to stridulate by rubbing the outer margins of the tegmina against the subcostal and radial veins of the alae.

Keywords. Phasmatodea, stridulation, Global Taxonomic Initiative, South-East Asia, walking stick.

Bresseel J. & Constant J. 2015. The New Genus of Stick Insect Lobofemora from Vietnam, with the Description of Three New Species (Phasmida: Phasmatidae: Clitumnini). European Journal of Taxonomy. 115: 1–25. DOI: 10.5852/ejt.2015.115

[Paleontology • 2012] Gavialis from the Pleistocene of Thailand and Its Relevance for Drainage Connections from India to Java

Figure 4. Skull and mandible of Gavialis cf. bengawanicus from the Early Pleistocene of Khok Sung (Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Thailand).
A, right lateral view (mirrored for comparison) of DMR-KS-03-25-23. B, line drawing from the left lateral view of the posterior portion of the skull of DMR-KS-201202-1. C, left lateral view of skull of DMR-KS-201202-1. D, E, G, mandible of DMR-KS-201202-1 left lateral (D), occlusal (E), and ventral (G) views. F, incomplete dentaries (DMR-KS-05-06-22-1) in occlusal view; H, detail of the dentition in lateral view as seen on the maxillary fragment DMR-KS-05-03-08-37.
Abbreviations: asan, anterior tip of surangular; asp, anterior tip of splenial; ec, ectopterygoid; exo, exoccipital; fr, frontal; j, jugal; l, lacrimal; ltf, lower temporal fenestra; mx, maxilla; on, otic notch; or, orbit; pfr, prefrontal; po, postorbital; q, quadrate; qj, quadratojugal; sq, squamosal.  || DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044541

The genus Gavialis comprises a single living but endangered species, G. gangeticus, as well as fossil species recorded in the Miocene to Pleistocene deposits of the Indian subcontinent. The genus is also represented in the Pleistocene deposits of Java by the species G. bengawanicus, which was recently recognized to be valid. Surprisingly, no detailed report of the genus exists between these two provinces and the recent evolutionary history of Gavialis is not understood.

Methodology/Principal Findings
We report new material consisting of skull and mandibular remains of Gavialis from the Early Pleistocene of Khok Sung, Nakhon Ratchasima Province, northeastern Thailand. The Gavialis material described herein is attributed to Gavialis cf. bengawanicus and sheds new light on the occurrence of the genus in mainland SE Asia.

Comparison of this new material with other species referred to the genus Gavialis led us to preliminary restrict the content of the genus to three species, namely G. gangeticus Gmelin, G. bengawanicus Dubois and G. lewisi Lull. The occurrence of G. cf. bengawanicus in Thailand allows us to propose a scenario for the dispersal of Gavialis from Indo-Pakistan to Indonesia, thus bridging a geographical gap between these two provinces. Dispersal by sea appears a less likely possibility than dispersal through fluvial drainages.

Figure 12. Hypothetic dispersal route of Gavialis spp. from their ancestral habitat in Indo-Pakistan toward SE Asia through the East Himalayan syntaxis.
Definitive isolation of Gavialis population is represented by the mountain barriers separating the Salween and Chao Phraya basins and may have taken place during the latest Pliocene–earliest Pleistocene. 1, Ganges Delta; 2, Bhramapoutre Basin; 3, Irrawaddy Basin; 4, Salween Basin; 5, Chao Phraya Basin; 6, Chi and Mun rivers Basin; 7, Mekong Delta. Stars indicate the Early Pleistocene records of Gavialis in SE Asia (Khok Sung, Thailand and Java, Indonesia).


Jeremy E. Martin, Eric Buffetaut, Wilailuck Naksri, Komsorn Lauprasert and Julien Claude. 2012. Gavialis from the Pleistocene of Thailand and Its Relevance for Drainage Connections from India to Java. PLoS ONE. 7(9): e44541. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044541

[Ichthyology • 2016] The Genera Isorineloricaria and Aphanotorulus (Siluriformes: Loricariidae) with Description of A New Species, Isorineloricaria acuarius, from the Apure River basin of Venezuela

Isorineloricaria acuarius
 Ray & Armbruster, 2016


We review the complex history of those species included in the Hypostomus emarginatus species complex and recognize them in Isorineloricaria and Aphanotorulus. Isorineloricaria consists of four valid species: Isorineloricaria acuarius n. sp., I. spinosissima, I. tenuicauda, and I. villarsi. Aphanotorulus consists of six valid species: A. ammophilus, A, emarginatus, A. gomesi, A. horridus, A. phrixosoma, and A. unicolor. Plecostomus annae and Hypostoma squalinum are placed in the synonymy of A. emarginatus; Plecostomus biseriatus, P. scopularius, and P. virescens are placed in the synonymy of A. horridus; Plecostomus winzi is placed in the synonymy of I. tenuicauda, and one new species, Isorineloricaria acuarius is described from the Apure River basin of Venezuela. Aphanotoroulus can be distinguished from Isorineloricaria by having caudal peduncles that do not become greatly lengthed with size and that are oval in cross section (vs. caudal peduncle proportions that get proportionately longer with size and that become round in cross-section), and by having small dark spots (less than half plate diameter) on a light tan background (vs. spots almost as large as lateral plates on a nearly white background.

Keywords: Pisces, Amazonas, Andean, Brazilian Shield, Guiana Shield, Hypostomus, Squaliforma, taxonomy

C.K. Ray and J.W. Armbruster. 2016. The Genera Isorineloricaria and Aphanotorulus (Siluriformes: Loricariidae) with Description of A New Species.
Zootaxa. 4072(5): 501–539.   DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4072.5.1 

Monday, February 8, 2016

[Herpetology • 2015] Breeding in Bamboo: A Novel Anuran Reproductive Strategy discovered in Rhacophorid Frogs of the Western Ghats, India

Figure 2. Raorchestes chalazodes in natural habitat. A, Ochlandra travancorica bamboo along streams. Height about 5 m. B, Male R. chalazodes on the internode. C, Male R. chalazodes vocalizing outside the internode opening.

Amphibians exhibit extraordinarily diverse sets of reproductive strategies among vertebrates. Understanding life history strategies in an evolutionary framework is lacking for many amphibian species in the tropics. Here, we report a novel reproductive mode where adult frogs enter hollow internodes of bamboo via a small opening, deposit direct developing eggs, and provide parental care. This behaviour is observed in two species of the frog genus Raorchestes. The first description of this unique life history and details of nest site characteristics and embryo development are provided along with ecological comparisons. Evolution of novel reproductive modes and parental care are discussed in context of natural selection. Dearth of natural history information on amphibians in the Western Ghats and much of the South-East Asian region is highlighted with suggestions for further studies.

Keywords: amphibian ecology; direct development; evolutionary ecology; natural history; parental care; reproductive strategies 

Figure 3. Snapshots of male R. chalazodes entering the nest cavity inside a bamboo internode.
A, male entering by inserting head; B, mid dorsum and forearms inserted; C, forearms used to haul body in; D, forelimbs almost completely inserted; E, anterior portion of body almost entirely inserted, legs remain outside and; F, legs being pulled inside, one-by-one. Entry sequence lasted almost 30 s.
Measurements of frog and internode provided in text. A video grab of this sequence is available at: 10.1111/bij.12388

Figure 4. Inside bamboo internode and nest cavity.
A, Adult male with a clutch of five eggs; B, two different aged egg clutches inside one internode, one clutch with seven eggs and another with only four eggs are visible; C, an emerged froglet from a different clutch with seven eggs seen near developing embryos.


Researchers from the National University of Singapore have discovered a new reproductive mode in frogs and toads - breeding and laying direct developing eggs in live bamboo with narrow openings - which was observed in the white spotted bush frog (Raorchestes chalazodes).
photo: Seshadri K S  DOI: 10.1111/bij.12388

Adult male Raorchestes chalazodes enters hollow internodes of the flute bamboo Ochlandra travancorica where they vocalise to attract mates. It enters the bamboo with considerable resistance as the narrow openings are often less than 5 to 10 millimetres long and 3 to 4 millimetres wide.
photos: Seshadri K S

Kadaba Shamanna Seshadri, Kotambylu Vasudeva Gururaja and David Patrick Bickford. 2015. Breeding in Bamboo: A Novel Anuran Reproductive Strategy discovered in Rhacophorid Frogs of the Western Ghats, India. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 114(1); 1–11. DOI: 10.1111/bij.12388 

Researchers discover for the first time that a rare bush frog breeds in bamboo

[PaleoMammalogy • 2016] Lutraeximia umbra • A New Otter from the Early Pleistocene of Pantalla (Italy), with remarks on the Evolutionary History of Mediterranean Quaternary Lutrinae (Carnivora, Mustelidae)

Lutraeximia umbra
Cherin, Iurino, Willemsen & Carnevale, 2016

Artwork by D.A. Iurino. 
DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2016.01.008 


• We describe the cranium of a Lutrinae from central Italy (late Villafranchian).
• It is the first otter cranium in the Early Pleistocene of the Mediterranean area.
• We refer the specimen to Lutraeximia umbra, gen. et sp. nov.
• Phylogenetic analysis allows recognizing a clade of Quaternary Mediterranean otters.
• This evidences the past large diversity of Lutrinae in the Mediterranean.

Here we describe a well-preserved sub-complete lutrine cranium from the late Villafranchian (Early Pleistocene) of Pantalla (Italy) and we assign it to the new taxon Lutraeximia umbra, gen. et sp. nov. The new genus Lutraeximia is characterized by a relatively short and large cranium, with a peculiar shape of the postorbital area and a short and vertical muzzle in lateral view. We refer to the same genus the partially complete skeleton of Lutra trinacriae from the Middle-Late Pleistocene of Sicily. Lutraeximia umbra was a medium-large otter (predicted body mass larger than 13.5 kg) with a unique combination of characters in the upper dentition.

A phylogenetic analysis based on craniodental characters places Lutraeximia umbra in a monophyletic clade including the living Lutrogale perspicillata plus the extinct Lutrogale cretensis and three Pleistocene otters from Italy: Sardolutra ichnusae and the sister taxa Lutraeximia trinacriae and Lutraeximia umbra. The recognition of this clade evidences the broad diversity of peri-Mediterranean Lutrinae during the Pleistocene.

Keywords: Lutraeximia; Lutrinae; Otter; Phylogeny; Pantalla; Villafranchian

Fig. 10. Sequential reconstruction of the head of Lutraeximia umbra, gen. et sp. nov., from Pantalla (Italy).
From top to bottom: 3D retrodeformed model of the cranium SBAU 337654, reconstructed head and cranium overlapped, life appearance.
Artwork by D.A. Iurino. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2016.01.008  

Systematic paleontology
Class: Mammalia Linnaeus, 1758
Order: Carnivora Bowdich, 1821

Family: Mustelidae Fischer, 1817
Subfamily: Lutrinae Bonaparte, 1838

Lutraeximia gen. nov.
Type species: Lutraeximia umbra, sp. nov.

Etymology: From the Latin words lutra, otter and eximia, distinct, outstanding.

Included species: Lutraeximia umbra, sp. nov.; Lutraeximia trinacriae ( Burgio and Fiore, 1988) (=Nesolutra trinacriae Burgio and Fiore, 1988; Lutra trinacriae Willemsen, 1992).

Diagnosis: Lutrinae with cranium relatively short and large; postorbital constriction slightly shorter than its wider section and with a small narrowing in the caudal end; muzzle short and with a nearly vertical rostral margin in lateral view; M1 relatively smaller than P4.

Lutraeximia umbra sp. nov.

Holotype: SBAU 337654, a sub-complete dorsoventrally compressed cranium missing the mastoid and jugular processes, both P3, left P1 and left I3. The rostral part of the frontals and nasals are ventrally crushed, with the latter collapsing into the nasal cavities. The cranium pertains to an adult individual.

Etymology: Umbria is the region of central Italy where the type specimen was found.

Type locality, horizon and age: The holotype is from the locality of Pantalla, about 30 km S to Perugia (Italy; 42°52′46.79″N, 12°24′23.26″E; Fig. 2). The mammal assemblage of this locality was recovered from a 15 m-thick stratigraphic succession referred to the Early Pleistocene Santa Maria di Ciciliano Unit (Gentili et al., 1997). Fossils were found in two different levels in the middle-upper portion of the succession: fluvial silty sands below, interpreted as crevasse-splay deposits; silty clays above, interpreted as a drained paleosol (Gentili et al., 1997). SBAU 337654 comes from the former level. Besides the Lutrinae described here, the mammal assemblage includes Apodemus cf. A. dominans, Canis etruscus, Vulpes sp., Lynx issiodorensis valdarnensis, Acinonyx pardinensis, Sus strozzii, Pseudodama nestii, Leptobos aff. L. furtivus, Equus sp., and Mammuthus cf. M. meridionalis ( Gentili et al., 1997 and Cherin et al., 2014). From a biochronological point of view, the assemblage can be referred to the Olivola/Tasso Faunal Units (Gentili et al., 1997), in a time interval ranging approximately between 1.9 and 1.7 Ma (Rook and Martínez-Navarro, 2010).

Marco Cherin, Dawid Adam Iurino, Gerard Willemsen and Giorgio Carnevale. 2016.  A New Otter from the Early Pleistocene of Pantalla (Italy), with remarks on the Evolutionary History of Mediterranean Quaternary Lutrinae (Carnivora, Mustelidae). Quaternary Science Reviews. 135; 92–102.  DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2016.01.008

Todi, trovato cranio completo di lontra preistorica: «Nuova specie tutta umbra»